Gleaming in a cascade of flashing stage lights, the face of the lead singer is illuminated, called to attention amongst the other members of the band on stage. For many shows, this is the reality for most bands — heavy attention garnered by a single member. But Julian St. Nightmare does things differently. For the dark alternative band that’s drawing attention in the local scene, the spotlight is shared equally with four out of the five members contributing to the vocal performance. Having four vocalists as opposed to one is only one of the many ways that Julian St. Nightmare sets itself apart.
The idea for the band was sparked in vocalist and guitarist Rudy Morales’ mind while in line at Tacos Rapidos. With his friend Chico at his side, he voiced the idea aloud, cementing it in reality. The two began jamming and were eventually joined by current members Genevive Fulton, Tanner Garren and Sergio Castorena.
Having five members in a band would seem to present challenges for collaboration, but in the case of Julian St. Nightmare, it has been the key element in crafting their iconic sound. Darkly enchanting with notes of ’80s nu-wave and classic goth, the band’s sound is the epitome of spooky. “Spooky Scooby-Doo Halloween music,” as the band put it.
“I think that’s a big thing — we each definitely have our own voice,” keyboardist and vocalist Genevieve Fulton said. She went on to add, “We all have a different opinion on how we want it to sound but we usually compromise and I think that it’s our combined efforts that make the sound unique to us.” Bringing their own personal influences from dark wave, Latin, drum and bass and metal music, the band has been able to cater to a variety of different genres and fit the mold of varying bills.
Echoic guitar distortion, haunting vocals and chilling synth and bass bring a looming eeriness to the songs. “Regardless of the influence in the songs, there’s always a dark undertone,” rhythm guitarist and vocalist Sergio Castorena said. The band described that the process of writing a song for them can be chaotic at first, bringing a jumble of ideas to the table, yet being grounded in the same vision of darkness in the sound and tone of the songs is what allows them to smooth things out in the end.
Currently, the band has only four singles released on streaming platforms, but they are making strides toward releasing more music and playing more shows in Denver. “Our first main show was last June at Lost Lake. We headlined it and curated it and I feel like that kind of threw us into the music scene,” Fulton said. Before that breakthrough show, the band explained how they found community in the DIY scene. “A lot of people in the DIY scene are very friendly and forthcoming. It makes up a pretty sizable component of the Denver music scene. There’s a showcasing of artists that are talented,” drummer Tanner Garren said.
The band planted its roots at venues such as Glitter City, Posh House and Ursa Minor. With many such venues being forced into closure due to the pandemic, with the exception of Seventh Circle, the band was pushed towards playing bigger venues through circumstance. Now, the band is still very much tied to the local scene but is bridging the gap between DIY and the larger Denver music community.
The band is working on cooking up more chilling tunes while also preparing for their upcoming show at the Bobcat Lounge (at Skylark Lounge) on October 29 in addition to many shows to follow. As for the future of the band, bassist Chico voiced for the group the main goal to, “make some piece of music like an album or something that people will still be listening to 20, 30, 40 years from now.”
All photography by Jackson Davis